Feingold-Reid Amendment--Ending Iraq War and Bringing Troops Home

Mr. President, today we face an awesome vote, a historic vote in the Senate. It is a vote about this war in Iraq. It is an issue which consumes this Senate and this Nation. We have lost 3,400 soldiers, over 30,000 returned home injured, some with serious, grievous disabilities and injuries they will battle for a lifetime. We have spent over $500 billion, and there is no end in sight.

This morning, the White House announced that the President has finally found a general who will accept the responsibility for the execution of this war. Why did four generals before him refuse this assignment? Because those four generals know, the American people know, and this Senate knows that the administration's policy in Iraq has failed.

Our soldiers have not failed. They have risen again to the challenge. They have exhibited such courage and bravery. They have shown the kind of sacrifice that wins over the hearts of generation after generation of American people. But the Iraqis failed to lead their own nation, and the situation in that country is in disarray.

Now is the time for the Senate to speak directly, honestly, decisively. This war must end. Our troops must come home. The Iraqis must accept responsibility for their future.

The Feingold-Reid amendment, which will be before us today, may not be adopted, but it will be adopted at another time on another day. At some future moment, after we have buried more of our fallen heroes, after we have cared for those thousands returning with injuries, after the Iraqis have broken our hearts again with their interminable fighting, their interminable civil war, and their lack of leadership in their nation, then we will act. But today is the day when we should act.

I respect very much my colleague from Virginia, Senator Warner. He is one of the few on that side of the aisle who have spoken out suggesting that these policies must change. I don't believe his amendment achieves all that we need to achieve today. It sets benchmarks but gives the President the power to waive those benchmarks and the requirements that come with them. Sadly, we know what this President will do. Just as with the sweep of a veto pen he swept away our bipartisan effort to start a timetable to end this war, he will sign a waiver and continue on for the next 18, 19 months with this war with no end in sight.

…in response to my colleague from the State of California--and I thank her for her leadership--there is only one amendment today which will end this war, there is only one amendment today which will start to bring these troops home, there is only one amendment which will make it clear to the Iraqis that this is their country and their responsibility. The Feingold-Reid amendment is the amendment which will finally start bringing this war to an end.

How many more soldiers do we have to bury? How many more do we have to bring into our military and veterans hospitals? How many more thousands of innocent Iraqis have to die before we finally accept our responsibility to bring this war to an end? We can do it today. We should do it today. I urge my colleagues to support the Feingold-Reid amendment, and I urge all of them to understand the gravity of this decision. This is not about politics. This is about the life and death of great heroes in America who continue to step forward and risk their lives for this Nation.

I ask unanimous consent to be added as a cosponsor to the Feingold-Reid amendment.